01/02/2009. Contributed by Phil Jones
pub: Yen Press/Orbit Books. 224 page graphic novel. Price: £ 5.99 (UK), $10.99, $12.75 (CAN). ISBN: 978-0-7595-2841-3.
check out website: www.orbitbooks.net and www.yenpress.co.uk
Kuro is still tagging along with hard-working Keita. She meets another Motosumitama Mikami while trying to get a game for Keita. Mikami is of the same Motosumitama family as Kuro but to all intensive purposes is very different. Independent, sexy, unscrupulous and on the search for money she is a hand for hire when it comes to stealing, kidnap and the like. Speaking of kidnap, Mikami meets up with Kuro and just as she's leaving announces her latest job, to kidnap Akane and warns her that she will not let anything or anyone get in her way.
Kuro tries to warn Keita about it by asking him to stay near Akane at all times. Keita just sees Kuro's request as being stupid and is more fixated on his job especially as he's unaware of all the facts. More heated debate finally ensues until Kuro spills the beans and tells Keita about Akane's pending threat to her. Well, the two of them are not going to take it sitting down and actively try to find out where Mikami lives and meet her head on.
It's good to see Manga being published and translated especially when it's as well-produced and enjoyable as 'Black God'. There's a good balance between action sequences and character development. Oh and I so wish there were more coloured artwork as the front cover is impressive. The artwork I would say has been improved on somewhat from the first volume and some seriously cute moé moments which balance the more action-oriented scenes.
There's a bit more meat given to both Kuro and Keita's character development. It good to see that the characters have a realistic outlook and behaviour and are not just two-dimensional. We also start to understand a bit more about Mototsumitama and their background along with the introduction of Mikami and several other characters. There's a dark under-thread throughout, what with the adversaries carried over from the first volume and the interesting initial neutrality of Mikami developing into a full on battle which spans multiple chapters. We also get to see at what lengths Mikami will go to to keep her current lifestyle and human partner going. In doing so, we start to see also a slightly softer loving side of Mikami. You get the feeling that there is more to Mikami, especially when she loses Shingo who just before he dies asks Mikami to show compassion toward Kuro. It also shows the cost that Motosumitama make when they lose a human they have made a pact with. This fight also brings Kuro and Keita closer in more than one way and highlights the significance that Keita plays when Kuro is fighting.
There are numerous comical moments especially between Kuro and Keita but balanced against this is the mysterious Doppleliner who has employed Mikami to kidnap Akane. This can't be good news. It all adds to the tension and emotion as things heat up. There's plenty of background information in this volume but there are enough mysteries to keep you wanted to know more. The fast pace and believable characters along with the gorgeous presentation just make you want to get hold of the next volume.
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Stephen Hunt's novels - USA